Methodism, United and otherwise
Evangelical and Methodist: A Popular History, by Riley B. Case (Abingdon, 2004) Case, a leading conservative voice in the UMC, wants it to recover what he sees as the Wesleyan emphasis on reaching the common people and on changing hearts. See the January 2005 Connections.
Methodist and Radical: Rejuvenating a Tradition (Abingdon, 2003), Joerg Rieger and John J. Vincent, editors The church is best shaped and transformed not from the top down but from the bottom up, by perspectives from the margins of society, and the margins are often where God is at work. That’s the view Methodist theologians Joerg Rieger and John J. Vincent and other Methodists from around the world present in this provocative book. Read more about it in the August 2004 Connections.
Questions for the Twenty-First Century Church, Russell E. Richey, William B. Lawrence, and Dennis M. Campbell, editors (Volume 4 in the series United Methodism and American Culture; Abingdon, 1999) I’ve found all four books in this series interesting. (The others are listed above and below.) A few of their articles are a bit tedious unless you like statistics and details of history better than I do, but I found nearly all of the articles in Questions for the Twenty-First Century Church very interesting, challenging, and significant. I wish every United Methodist would read it. Especially important and especially readable, in my view, are the articles in it by Thomas E. Boomershine and M. Garlinda Burton, about the need to communicate through today’s media and to consider the world rather than church insiders our main audience. In the page-one boxes of the June 1999 and May 1999 issues I mention some of Burton’s main points, and the body of the June 1999 issue covers a Boomershine talk whose contents were essentially the same as the contents of his article.
The People(s) Called Methodist: Forms and Reforms of Their Life, William B. Lawrence, Dennis M. Campbell, and Russell E. Richey, editors (Volume 2 in United Methodism and American Culture; Abingdon, 1998) These two books will probably have more interest for United Methodists who participate directly in the UMC organizational system of appointments, conferences, and such, than for those whose main or only involvement is as a lay member of a local congregation. However, what these books are saying is important for all United Methodists, as what happens in the system affects every congregation and every member whether they realize it or not. In the July 1998 Connections I quoted briefly from these two books along with Richey’s Early American Methodism(Indiana University Press, 1991) and The Methodist Conference in America (Kingswood/Abingdon, 1996). In the July 1998 Connections, about John Wesley’s view of Christian conference and the help it might offer in resolving controversial issues in today’s church, I also mentioned these books I had found informative.
A Wesleyan Spiritual Reader, by Rueben P. Job (Abingdon, 1997) Unity, Liberty and Charity: Building Bridges Under Icy Waters, Donald E. Messer and William J. Abraham, editors (Abingdon, 1996)
Wesley and the People Called Methodists, by Richard P. Heitzenrater (Abingdon, 1995) Wesley and the Quadrilateral: Renewing the Conversation, by W. Stephen Gunter, Scott J. Jones, Ted A. Campbell, Rebekah L. Miles, and Randy L. Maddox (Abingdon, 1997)